Jess Lund has joined the team as an MSc student at the University of Cape Town. She is currently assisting with several projects in Zambia this wet season but will return to Cape Town soon to begin. Her project will focus on the coevolutionary consequences of host egg signatures in the fork-tailed drongo, and its specialist parasite, the African cuckoo. Jess’s previous research during her BSc(Hons) research at the University of Cape Town was on winter thermoregulation in African Pygmy Falcons in the Kalahari.
Our paper ‘Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry’ has been published in the journal Evolution. This perspectives paper, written by Tanmay Dixit, Eleanor Caves, Claire Spottiswoode, and Nicholas Horrocks, argues that Weber’s Law of proportional processing can lead to otherwise counterintuitive predictions about the evolutionary trajectories of mimicry systems. Weber’s Law states that when the magnitude of a stimulus is large, it is more difficult to discriminate a change or difference from that stimulus. In other words, relative differences are more salient than absolute differences. We show that Weber’s Law could have implications for mimicry: when stimulus magnitudes are high, it should be more difficult to discriminate a model from a mimic. This leads to testable predictions about evolutionary trajectories of models and mimics. We also present a framework for testing Weber’s Law and its implications for coevolution.